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E. coli Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on E. coli News & Outbreaks

12 States Report E. coli Tainted Meat from Wolverine Packing Co.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says stores in at least 12 states may have received beef contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

The service announced this week that 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products were being recalled because they could be contaminated. The federal agency has since named businesses that may have received the tainted products.

They include:

• Gordon Food Service Marketplace stores in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin

• Giorgio’s Italian Delicatessen in Stuart, Florida

• Blairsville Seafood Market in Blairsville, Georgia

• M Sixty Six General Store in Orleans, Michigan

• Bronson’s Super Valu in Beulah, North Dakota

• Jason’s Super Foods in New Town, North Dakota

• Buchtel Food Mart in Buchtel, Ohio

• Quick Stop in Erwin, Tennessee

• Virginia Market in Maynardville, Tennessee

• Barger Foods in Nashville, Tennessee

• Virginia Heights Travel Store in Wytheville, Virginia

A representative for the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the meat is being removed from store shelves. But consumers should return or throw out meat that has the code EST.2574B and a production date between March 31 and April 18, 2014.

The ground beef is sold under a variety of labels, according to the USDA, but comes from Wolverine Packing Co. in Detroit.

Eleven people across four states are suspected to have been sickened by the product, according to the USDA, which learned about the first such illnesses on May 8. Ten of those people were sickened after eating at restaurants that received contaminated meat.

Washington and Idaho E. coli O121 Outbreak Linked to Evergreen Fresh Sprouts

As of May 21, 2014, seven confirmed and three probable cases of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) infection have been reported in Idaho and Washington.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Idaho (3) and Washington (7).

Fifty percent of ill persons have been hospitalized. No ill persons have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths have been reported.

Results from initial state and local epidemiologic investigations indicate a link to eating raw clover sprouts.

In interviews, nine (90%) of ten ill persons reported eating raw clover sprouts in the week before becoming ill.

Preliminary traceback investigations indicate that contaminated raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho is the likely source of this outbreak of STEC O121 infections.

The Washington State Department of Health and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare are advising people not to eat raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts.

This investigation is active and ongoing and CDC will update the public when more information becomes available.

E. coli Watch in Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio

As of May 16, 2014, a total of 11 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC O157:H7) have been reported from 4 states.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Massachusetts (1), Michigan (5), Missouri (1), and Ohio (4).

60% of ill persons have been hospitalized. No ill persons have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicate that contaminated ground beef produced by Wolverine Packing Company is the likely source of this outbreak of STEC O157:H7 infections.

On May 19, 2014, Wolverine Packing Company voluntarily recalled approximately 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with STEC O157:H7.

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “2574B.”

The recalled ground beef was shipped to distributors for retail and restaurant use nationwide.

Ground Beef Recalled from Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio after Eleven Sickened by E. coli

Wolverine Packing Company, a Detroit, Mich. establishment, is recalling approximately 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The ground beef products were produced between March 31, 2014 and April 18, 2014. For a full list of products that were recalled please see the attached document.

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 2574B” and will have a production date code in the format “Packing Nos: MM DD 14” between “03 31 14” and “04 18 14”. These products were shipped to distributors for restaurant use in Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio. There was no distribution of the products to the Department of Defense, the National School Lunch Program, or catalog/internet sales.

Factors that can contribute to the size of the recall include potential contamination of additional products due to a lack of microbiological independence between lot production, as well as a deficiency in supportive record-keeping by distributors.

FSIS was notified of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses on May 12, 2014. Working in conjunction with public health partners from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined that there is a link between the ground beef products from Wolverine Packing Company and this illness cluster. Based on epidemiological and traceback investigations, 11 case-patients have been identified in 4 states with illness onset dates ranging from April 22, 2014 to May 2, 2014. FSIS continues to work with our state and federal public health partners on this investigation and provide updated information as it becomes available.

Raw Milk Strikes Again

Two cases of E. coli 0157:H7 in West Michigan have been traced back to consumption of raw milk products from an Ottawa County cow share program. In March, a 31 year old Muskegon County woman became ill after drinking raw milk, and in April, a 6 year old child from Kent County became ill after possible consumption of the raw milk product.

Organisms that make people sick are found in the intestines of animals. Contamination of milk occurs when fecal matter is present on the udder of an animal or in the equipment used to process the milk. Enough bacteria to cause illness can be present and not be visibly dirty upon inspection. Pasteurizing is the process of heating the milk to high temperatures to kill the harmful bacteria that make you sick. Raw or unpasteurized milk (sometimes called fresh milk or fresh unprocessed milk) is milk that comes directly from a cow, goat, sheep or other animal’s udder and is not heat treated (pasteurized) to kill bacteria. Raw milk carries a much higher risk of causing serious illness than pasteurized milk, and you cannot see or smell the germs in raw milk that make you sick.

Some believe drinking raw milk products is more nutritious and provides the body with “good bacteria”. The pasteurizing process does not significantly change the nutritional value of milk, and due to the risk of serious illness, there are far safer sources of good bacteria than raw milk. Pasteurized probiotic yogurts, kefir, and other products are a great source of probiotics.

The CDC reports that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness, and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy products. Due to poorly developed immune systems, infants and children are at greater risk for becoming sick and are more likely to suffer from long term damage from diseases linked to drinking raw milk.

Due to the health risk of consuming raw milk, it is not legal to sell raw milk or raw milk products in the State of Michigan. Because of this, raw milk is obtained through herd share programs. In a herd share program, consumers purchase a share of a cow and, as the owner of the cow, are provided raw milk from the farmer.

These herd share dairy programs are not licensed or inspected by state or local agencies.

If you or someone you know has become ill in the days following consumption of a raw milk product, seek medical attention. Symptoms of illness include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain along with fever, headache, and body ache. Pregnant women, infants, small children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses should never consume raw milk products.

E. coli Strikes Six in Michigan and Four in Ohio

The Michigan Departments of Community Health (MDCH) and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) along with local health departments in Kent, Livingston, Oakland, Ottawa, and Washtenaw counties are investigating a cluster of recent illnesses due to the bacteria E. coli O157:H7.

Five confirmed Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157 illnesses have been reported in adults between 20-41 years of age with symptom onset dates from April 22 – May 1. Three individuals have been hospitalized. None of the ill individuals have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe complication of E. coli O157 infection, and no deaths have been reported.

Laboratory results suggest these illnesses are linked to a common source. The investigation is ongoing, and preliminary information collected from ill persons indicates that ground beef is most likely the source. Ill individuals ate undercooked ground beef at several different restaurants in multiple locations. MDARD is working with local health departments and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to determine the source of the ground beef and how widely it was distributed.

E. coli:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Viandes Lauzon brand lean ground veal recalled due to E. coli O157:NM

Groupe Colabor Inc. is recalling Viandes Lauzon brand lean ground veal from the marketplace due to possible E. coli O157:NM contamination. Hotels, restaurants, institutions, daycare and healthcare facilities should not use, serve or distribute the recalled product described below.

The following product has been sold to hotels, restaurants, institutions, daycare and healthcare facilities in Quebec.

Brand

Product

Size

UPC

Code

Viandes Lauzon

Lean Ground Veal

2 x 2.5 kg

Item #35180

30/04/14

Food contaminated with E. coli O157:NM may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea. In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis or live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die.

This recall was triggered by the company. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Trader Joe’s and Glass Onion Face E. coli Lawsuits

Trader Joe’s and Glass Onion Catering is facing 5 lawsuits brought on behalf of alleged victims of a 2013 E. coli outbreak. Public health officials traced the E. coli outbreak to salads made by Glass Onion Catering and sold at the grocery chain.[1]

According to attorney Bill Marler, whose law firm represents 6 plaintiffs who allege that they fell ill with E. coli infections after eating salads sold at Trader Joe’s, the company was added as a defendant to two lawsuits previously filed against salad-maker Glass Onion Catering in California[2] and in 3 new lawsuits filed Wednesday in California and Washington state[3]. The plaintiffs allege in the lawsuits that Glass Onion Catering and Trader Joe’s sold food that was “not fit for human consumption, and not reasonably safe because it was contaminated with E. coli O157:H7”.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state and local health departments counted 33 people from 4 states who were confirmed ill with E. coli infections after consuming Glass Onion Catering salads and wraps sold at Trader Joe’s and other retail outlets in October and November of 2013. Two people, including one of the plaintiffs, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication of E. coli infection that can cause kidney failure and central nervous system impairment.[1]

“Retailers need to be held accountable for what they sell,” said attorney Bill Marler. “In my opinion, over the last two decades retailers have begun to care less about the safety of what they sell just as long as it sells.  Retailers now try to push blame for the sale of tainted food that sickens customers onto everyone but the retailer. That needs to stop.”

E. coli:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

1. See, “Multistate Outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 Infections Linked to Ready-to-Eat Salads”.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  November 12, 2013, “California Firm Recalls Grilled Chicken Salad Products Due To Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination.”  United States Department of Agriculture.  November 10, 2013 and “Atherstone Foods Voluntarily Recalls Salads and Wraps Because of Possible Health Risk.”  U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  November 9, 2013.

2. Sonoma County Superior Court Case No. SCV-254623 and San Francisco County Superior Court

3. United States District Court for the Western District of Washington

Another E. coli Outbreak Linked to Oklahoma Youth Expo

KFOR News reports that several Oklahoma families have been hospitalized with E. coli infections after attending the same Oklahoma Youth Expo event at the State Fairgrounds.  While some cases are minor, some are more severe, putting one 8-year-old in ICU.

One child, Connor Sneary, has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome and is on dialysis and has received several blood transfusions and is breathing with the help of a ventilator.

See www.fair-safety.com for information on past outbreaks.

E. coli Puts Cider Maker in Prison

According to press reports and a press release from the Michigan Depart of Agriculture, James Ruster, owner of Mitchell Hill Farm in Ellsworth, was sentenced last week for a felony violation of Michigan’s Food Law.  Ruster pled guilty to willful misbranding and adulteration of food products and was sentenced to 14 to 48 months in prison plus fines and court costs.  This is the first felony conviction under this law.

In October 2011 a food inspector investigated a consumer tip that Ruster was selling apple cider at a local farmers market. Mitchell Hill Farm was not approved to produce cider. After repeatedly being informed that he wasn’t meeting safe cider production standards, Ruster continued to make and sell cider.

In November 2012 an investigation by the Health Department of Michigan determined the improperly processed cider caused an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak putting four individuals in the hospital, including two children.  The cider was linked to Mitchell Hill Farm.